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Remember When Switzerland Ruled the World of Household-Size Solar?

In our final excerpt from his new book on the history of solar power, Let It Shine, author John Perlin describes a key moment in the debate over big, centralized solar sites and smaller, distributed rooftop panels.

 

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How Ronald Reagan Turned Out the Lights on Solar Power

In an excerpt from his new book Let It Shine, John Perlin reveals how one of the first actions of the new Reagan administration was to dim the lights on what had been a promising start for an American solar energy program. Solar in the U.S. has yet to fully recover.

 

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Solar Has Been in Our Energy Portfolio for 6 Millennia

In an excerpt from John Perlin’s new book, Let It Shine: The 6,000 Year Story of Solar Energy, the solar guru explains how making use of the sun’s energy is anything but a new technology.

 

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Perhaps Archimedes Should Have Focused on Jaguars, Not Galleys

Solar concentrators are a hot weapon in the renewable energy arsenal. Except sometimes they really can be a weapon.

 

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If Only Renewable Energy Had a Smaller ‘But’

Wind and solar remain small components of the U.S. energy portfolio, but two new data points out this week suggest they’re starting to to hit their stride.

 

Navajo Nation Builds Momentum for Renewable Energy

The U.S. Southwest is ground zero in the effort to transition America to an energy portfolio of renewables. What are the first steps, and who is making them?

 

Consistency Key to Renewable Energy Policy

A new report on funding renewable energy projects offers a primer on how policy decisions are best engineered to boost the industry.

 

Solyndra’s Problems Were More Politics Than Power

Analysis: Solar energy writer John Perlin argues that Solyndra’s fall from grace reflects a bad choice in technique, and not a fundamental problem with solar energy.

 

Greece, North Africa Promote Their Solar Projects

Competing solar projects are vying to supply Germany’s renewable desires, each one trying to push the other into the shade.

 

Solar Entrepreneurs’ New Sales Pitch

Having seen well-intentioned but unsuccessful attempts to bring alternative energy to the developing world, several NGO founders suggest a more collaborative approach.

 

Confessions of a Nuclear Power Safety Expert

Nuclear engineer Cesare Silvi studied unlikely outside threats to nuclear plants in Italy, which soured him on the energy source and caused him to go solar.

 

Rooftop Solar Power to the People?

Some environmental advocates say the federal government is ignoring the real future of solar energy: photovoltaic cells on almost every roof. But even supporters acknowledge rooftop solar isn’t the complete answer to the energy question — yet.

 

Solar Showdown: Are New Solar Power Projects Anti-Environmental?

Big money, big energy and big environmentalism join forces to support big solar energy projects on federal land in the Southwest. But could these “green” projects actually be anti-environmental boondoggles in the making?

 

States: Playing to Clean Energy Strengths

Index of Clean Energy Leadership finds Midwestern upstarts mixed among the usual suspects.

 

Solar Energy Powers Cleanup of Superfund Site

The Frontier Fertilizer Superfund site in Davis, Calif., installs a suite of solar panels, paid for with stimulus funding, to power its own rehabilitation.

 

Inventor of Plastic Solar Cells Sees Bright Future

Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci, inventor of the plastic solar cell, reviews the past, present and bright future of his invention with Miller-McCune’s solar guru, John Perlin.

 

Slashing Solar Subsidies, and Lighting Way for China

The fine balance in Germany between markets and green energy policy highlights the real-world challenges for moving away from traditional power sources.

 

Greener Battlefields Would Be Safer for Troops

Allied troops would be much safer if they could cut the petroleum tether, according to a chorus of military leaders and planners.

 

Solar Farming Spreads to Appalachia

Ohio has reached a Turning Point with a solar-energy project that uses land that once was home to a strip mine.

 

Busting Myths About Photovoltaics

Fresh from the European Union photovoltaic conference, our John Perlin takes on some of the misconceptions clouding the solar power movement.

 

Solar on the Cheap: Thanks Purple Pokeberry!

A dye made from the purple pokeberry — a common weed — proves uncommonly effective at juicing up the prospects for solar power.

 

Solar Power: America Hangs Its Head

John Perlin, sitting on a solar energy panel at the European photovoltaics conference, laments America’s lost lead in the field.

 

Europe Boasts of its Solar Power Strength

As it’s announced that thee-quarters of new photovoltaic systems are going up in Europe, it’s fair to ask what happened to the former U.S. dominance in solar.

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America’s Streams Are Awash With Pesticides Banned in Europe

You may have never heard of clothianidin, but it's probably in your local river.

How Textbooks Have Changed the Face of War

War is more personal, less glorious, and more hellish in modern textbooks than in the past. But there’s still room for improvement.

NASA Could Build Entire Spacecrafts in Space Using 3-D Printers

This year NASA will experiment with 3-D printing small objects in space. That could mark the beginning of a gravity-free manufacturing revolution.

The Most Popular Ways to Share Good and Bad Personal News

Researchers rank the popularity of all of the different methods we have for telling people about our lives, from Facebook to face-to-face.

Do Not Tell Your Kids That Eating Vegetables Will Make Them Stronger

Instead, hand them over in silence. Or, market them as the most delicious snack known to mankind.

The Big One

One in two full-time American fast-food workers' families are enrolled in public assistance programs, at a cost of $7 billion per year. July/August 2014

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